More Matabeleland women venture into dairy farming Mrs Egness Kwenda owner of Precious Life Farm shows off her dairy cows

Sikhulekelani Moyo
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MORE women from Matabeleland region are venturing into dairy production where they have found a niche business opportunity with the potential to create more jobs while impacting positively the mainstream economy.

Last week’s World Milk Day commemorations in Bulawayo revealed that more females in the region were increasingly exploiting dairy production and were able to exhibit some of their works.

According to official data, Matabeleland region contributes about 15 percent of total milk volumes in the country. This comes at a time when Zimbabwe is registering a positive momentum in the dairy sector where last year, milk production grew from 79,9 million litres in 2021 to 91 million  litres.

The positive strides have been attributed to improved Government support under the Government’s Dairy Revitalisation Programme, which has brought together the private and public players in improving the dairy sector.

Development partners such as the European Union (EU) and USAID have also come in to support the sector.

In an interview, Mrs Dorothy Mupfanochiya, who chairs the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers, (ZADF) Matabeleland chapter said more women were finding value in dairy production.

“Those that I am in touch with in Matabeleland are mostly women and with very few men. I think women manage dairy farming better in terms of running the business, cow health, and everything,” she said.

“As you know a mother will always be thorough in whatever they are doing.”
Mrs Mufanochiya called for increased provision of proper business management skills and financial literacy to women in dairy farming so that they can be able to keep records of their businesses in terms of costs and profits.

“Women might be lacking in terms of accounts management. If you were to ask someone to say how much profit have you made in a month, they might not have that figure,” she said.

“So, they are lacking in terms of proper business management, and if we could have workshops with people who can help us to record the costings and other business skills that will be great.”

One of the successful dairy farmers in the region, Mrs Egness Kwenda of Precious Life Farm in Worringham on the outskirts of Bulawayo, the owner of the farm that was visited by delegates last Friday said dairy farming is about nurturing ability, an area that most women have more competence.

“The calves need to be taken care of as they are like our babies. I can go and take a look at a sick calf and think that if it was my baby what could I be doing to make it comfortable,” she said.

“So, by so doing, we have less mortality on calves, because we have got experience already as mothers. So, it’s much easier for women to be dairy farmers.  Even the men in dairy farming should engage their wives because they have got the instinct because when you lose it on calves, you have lost it in the future of dairy as the same calves are your future,” said Mrs Kwenda.

Through proper nurturing of calves, she said she expects to grow her herd to about 100 by next year from 47.

Mrs Kwenda started dairy farming in 2019 with one cow  producing about 15 litres a day and has increased the output to about 200 litres after she benefited from the EU seven million Euro ‘Transforming Zimbabwe Dairy Sector’ project where she was capacitated with five heifers.

Women in dairy farming under the Association of Dairy Farmers in Clairmont said they enjoy being dairy farmers but face challenges in realising their full potential.

Ms Thandiwe Mkundu said they have lost a lot of money in trying to increase milk production from cows that are not pure dairy breeds.

She said they are still yet to reach their set target of milk production, which is still affecting their profit margins.

“We are appealing for stakeholders to assist us in getting pure dairy breeds. We are not growing because we are still producing a small amount of milk as we cannot afford to buy pure breeds. If we can get two or three heifers for a start we will grow from there,” said Mrs Mkundu.

Another woman from the same association in Clairmont who only identified herself as Mrs Ndiweni said she started her business when she was still a clerk at Mpilo Central Hospital where she would carry some milk to sell to her colleagues.

She said it was her dream that one day when she retires, she will be a dairy farmer, which is now a fulfilled dream.


Mrs Ndiweni benefited from the EU project together with Mrs Kwenda and other farmers from different parts of the country.

“I always wanted to be a dairy farmer after retirement and I started milking my own cows, which are not even dairy breeds, from there I benefited from the EU project and now I produce between 100 to 130 liters of milk in two days,” she said.

“The EU project also assisted us with solar kits and now we have fridges to keep our milk fresh before collection, we hope that the Government,  private sector, and development organisations will continue to support us so that we get pure dairy breed to increase our milk production”. — @SikhulekelaniM1

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